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Samuel Johnson: The Major Works

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  231 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Samuel Johnson's literary reputation rests on such a varied output that he defies easy description: poet, critic, lexicographer, travel writer, essayist, editor, and, thanks to his good friend Boswell, the subject of one of the most famous English biographies.
This volume celebrates Johnson's astonishing talent by selecting widely across the full range of his work. It incl
Paperback, 840 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published June 1925)
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Jun 15, 2016 Lotz rated it really liked it
While an authour is yet living we estimate his powers by his worst performance, and when he is dead we rate them by his best.

By the time you put down Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson, you are left with a very peculiar portrait of the man. Boswell’s Johnson is a bull, who tramples bystanders in a stampede of wit. He is arrogant, overbearing, stubborn, and delightfully epigrammatic—the kind of man you would like to overhear, but would not wish to talk to. So cartoonish, in fact, did Johnson appe
Nov 07, 2013 kaelan rated it it was amazing
I like to think that reading this book—an activity which has occupied me for about the last year of my life—has been rather akin to an arranged marriage. What began without love—or, at most, the minutest spark of attraction—has developed, over the arduous months, into a bond of considerable strength. I can't say that I love Johnson; but I feel, for better or for worse, that he is a part of me now.

The following sub-reviews concern what I deem to be the most important works in this collection, and
Jeff Crompton
Mar 24, 2011 Jeff Crompton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I'm weird. I have an unaccountable affinity for Samuel Johnson, that giant of the 18th century, whose work is often considered ponderous and dated these days. He was conservative, moralistic, and religiously orthodox; these are all traits which don't appeal to me. But I love his writing - a good portion of it, anyway. There's a melancholy in much of his work which touches me - an awareness that much of what happens to us is out of our hands, and that life is short, and death is certain.

Apr 15, 2012 Joseph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Because of the influence of Harold Bloom and Michael Wenzl, I have become a Johnsonian reader (to say that I am a Johnsonian critic is perhaps going too far and overtly flattering myself), and I am consistently amazed by my conversations with people who have no basis for analyzing or evaluating human creativity beyond, "duh, I don't know, I just liked it." Aesthetic pleasure as a critical paradigm is fine, but please learn to enunciate that, people. You might start in the training of your brain ...more
Daniel Klawitter
Nov 11, 2014 Daniel Klawitter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. Highly quotable. A justly honored essayist and wit of English letters.

"Many of the books which now crowd the world may be justly suspected to be written for the sake of some invisible order of beings, for surely they are of no use to any of the corporeal inhabitants of the world." ---from Johnson's 1757 "Review Of Soame Jenyns."
Sep 19, 2015 Sebastian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Likely the greatest prose writer in English. Clear, to the point, and with forceful eloquence; one of the few writers where your main thought is: "I wish I could write this well"
Dec 18, 2007 Fay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
He had lots of smart things to say. Of course the quicker way to find out what they were is to google "Samuel Johnson quotes."
Dec 10, 2008 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
A giant of the 18th century. There was no aspect of human striving that he did not comment on.
Read parts of this for my Neoclassicism seminar with Bruce Rose at BJU.
A nice, (and concise) reference book if you like Johnson's work.
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Samuel Johnson was an English author. Beginning as a Grub Street journalist, he made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, novelist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. Johnson has been described as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history". He is also the subject of one of the most celebrated biographies in English, ...more
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